Very fresh, complex nose combines soft citrus fruits, toast and minerals, with hints of red berries. Penetrating, bright and very intense, with powerful citrus and mineral flavors that turn sweeter toward the back end. The chewy finish of pear and hazelnut really stains the palate. Ultimately quite pliant and harmonious, in the style of the year. (ST)
In its famous clear bottle, this is one of the best known prestige cuvées, and also the oldest, made first in 1876 for the Russian Tsars.This most recent vintage is a very fine wine in a great tradition, revealing elegance, flavors of red fruits and impressive complexity from the blending. The aftertaste is extraordinary, going on seemingly into the distant horizon. (RV)
The 1997 vintage in Champagne was characterized by damp and cool conditions through August, but September was scorching. The resulting grapes were very high in malic acidity according to Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, but there was no malo in the Cristal base wines this year. The 1997 Cristal is a very pretty wine for current drinking, offering up a reasonably mature, transparent and classy nose of apple, lemon zest, a touch of smokiness, chalky soil tones, fresh almonds and a whisper of honeycomb. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish and à point, with good, but not great depth, refined mousse and very good length and grip on the complex finish. One gets used to the rock solid cores of most vintages of Cristal, and while this is far from fluide, there is still a touch less depth here than in most recent vintages of this fine cuvée. (Drink between 2012-2022)
Aromatically demure, the rich, full-bodied 1997 Brut is densely packed with ripe pears and apples as well as toast. This is an exceptionally vinous Champagne that could easily replace a white Burgundy in food pairings. Louis Roederer does not display a disgorgement date or consumer friendly lot number on its non-vintage Brut. This is regrettable as it has consistently been one of the finer bottlings in this category. (PR)
Light gold, with a hint of copper. Expansive and powerful on the nose, displaying scents of honey, light toffee, fresh fig and baked apples. Dense and thick, with serious heft; emphatically not an aperitif style of Champagne. The flavors of ripe apple and pear, singed butter and baking spices are concentrated and deep. Boasts a velvety, weighty texture that carries through the finish. (JR)
Light honey colour. Very tight bead. Attractively compact and with an acidity level that seemed almost comforting(ly low) after the red bordeaux first growths from the same vintage. Tightly laced with Chardonnay influence in evidence at the moment. No desperate hurry to drink – even if most of it will presumably be drunk by now anyway. 18/20 points. (JR)
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